×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Strikes Chinese-Language Development Pact With Wudi Pictures

Taiwan’s Wudi Pictures has struck a multi-picture development deal with Walt Disney in China, with a view to hatching locally targeted, Chinese-language movies.

The co-development agreement between The Walt Disney Studios China and Wudi runs for an initial 12 months. It is focused on live-action theatrical titles suitable for joint development and eventual production under China’s co-production rules. The deal is also expected to focus on films that provide leading roles for veteran actor Chen Bolin.

Chen stars in Disney’s upcoming “Miss Taken,” which recently wrapped production and will be released later this year. His co-star in the film is Jelly Lin, the actress who broke out in the lead role of Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid” last year. The film is a co-production between SMG Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios China and Shanghai Artrendwave Productions.

Wudi was established last year by Maxx Tsai, a senior film producer with years of experience in the film business. Wudi is also working with mainland China’s Hunan Satellite TV on a major Internet TV drama. That is expected to air next year. Other titles with Disney are to be announced later.

Disney has long been present in China, with a large presence in consumer goods. Last year it opened the Shanghai Disney Resort, a complex including the Shanghai Disneyland theme park, hotels and retail facilities. Shanghai Disneyland was the venue last week for the world premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” where Lin walked the red carpet.

The studio has long sought a role in local Chinese production, but has trod carefully and slowly. Its initial steps, including satisfactory box-office performer “The Magic Gourd,” were made with Hong Kong partners. “Disney High School Musical: China” made with Huayi Brothers and Shanghai Television Media, flopped.

More recently the company has partnered with and expanded its relationship with Shanghai Media Group. It established a multi-year studio movie script and talent development fund, and in 2013 another SMG deal launched kids’ entertainment cooperation with SMG subsidiary BesTV.

In 2014 Disney further expanded the SMG deal to include television content development, movie co-production, content distribution and cooperation on marketing. The recently released “Born in China,” a Disneynature-branded documentary directed by Lu Chuan, was one of the highest-profile products of that relationship.

More Film

  • Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan

    Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan Doc Hits Netflix June 12 (EXCLUSIVE)

    You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, but Bob Dylan fans have been waiting for some kind of reliable forecast to know when “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” might be rolling in. Here’s that storm alert: Netflix will be releasing the documentary June 12. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame' Racks Up Massive $169 Million Globally

    “Avengers: Endgame” is barreling toward a record-eviscerating weekend after opening to a mighty $169 million in its initial day of global release. That heroic haul includes a $107.5 million debut in China, an $8.4 million launch in South Korea, a $7 million bow in Australia and a $6 million day one in France. All in, [...]

  • Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Herself’ Adds Cast, Cornerstone

    Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Herself’ Adds Cast, Cornerstone Boards Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Cornerstone Films has boarded sales on “Herself,” the female-driven movie from “Mamma Mia!” and “The Iron Lady” helmer Phyllida Lloyd. Irish actor Clare Dunne, who starred in Lloyd’s all-female theater production of “Henry IV,” will play a single mother determined to build her own home with a free online plan, rebuilding her life in the [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    How the Avengers Became Such a Marvel in China

    “Avengers: Endgame” is on the fast track to becoming Hollywood’s most successful title ever in China, having already raked in RMB1 billion ($148 million) in just 45 hours – more than the Chinese earnings for “Wonder Woman” and “Once Upon a Deadpool” combined. It made as much in a single hour as the entire opening [...]

  • Todd Phillips

    Why 'Hangover' Director Todd Phillips Keeps Coming Back to His Favorite DP, Lawrence Sher

    “That’s my guy Larry,” says director Todd Phillips upon learning that Variety has selected his favorite DP, Lawrence Sher, as a billion-dollar cinematographer. The duo have worked together on a half dozen films, including all three installments of the “Hangover” franchise, “Due Date,” “War Dogs” and the upcoming “Joker,” with Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De [...]

  • Lawrence Sher Cinematographer

    Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Shoots Smash Comedies and Big Blockbusters Alike

    For cinematographer Lawrence Sher, the focus has always been on the director. That philosophy has carried Sher’s imagery to millions of filmgoers, including his latest work set to hit screens this year: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” directed by Michael Dougherty, and “Joker,” directed by Todd Phillips, who has also collaborated with Sher on all [...]

  • Désirée Finnegan Named Screen Ireland Chief

    Warner Bros. Exec Désirée Finnegan Named Screen Ireland Chief

    Désirée Finnegan will be the new chief executive of Screen Ireland, replacing the outgoing James Hickey. Finnegan, who hails from Dublin, joins from Warner Bros. Pictures where she was SVP, theatrical marketing and publicity, and guided strategy for campaigns across the EMEA region. In a 15-year stint at the Hollywood studio she worked on campaigns [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content